THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), together with local fisherfolk, successfully recovered a portion of suspected rocket debris near Subic, Zambales on 17 December 2022.
Accordingly, on 16 December 2022, Mr. David Gervacio, boat captain of Filipino Fishing Boat Akiyo reported via radio communication to the PCG their sighting of a white cylindrical shaped object, believed to be rocket debris, that was floating in waters approximately 55 nautical miles West of Subic, Zambales.
Upon receipt of the report, personnel from Coast Guard Station Zambales immediately responded and aided the crew in retrieving the said debris.
The recovered metal and plastic debris measures two (2) meters long and four (4) meters wide and is believed to be from a Long March 5b Rocket that was launched by China last 31 October 2022 from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province.
Said rocket carried a research laboratory module to China’s Tiangong Space Station.
The Philippine Space Agency posted a public advisory on the same date to alert the public for possible falling debris within two (2) drop zones at (i) approximately 39 nautical miles from BdM and (ii) 21 nautical miles from Busuanga, Palawan.
Previously, a similar floating object was spotted by Mr. Gervacio and his crew on 16 November 2022 in waters approximately 38 nautical miles southwest of Bajo de Masinloc (BdM) but was unable to be retrieved due to its submerged status and its size.
Coastal barangays and local fisherfolk are reminded that floating debris at sea are notable navigational hazards that may endanger the safety of vessels and crew.
As such, the PCG remains alert and ready to assist in identifying and recovering objects at sea to ensure the safety of vessels and Filipino fisherfolk plying waters within the Philippine maritime jurisdiction.